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Back to part 8 / Back to Masterpost

Lena frowned, confused, when Jim left Sickbay. The CMO, who had introduced himself as Geoff M’Benga, smiled. “I wouldn’t worry about it too much right now,” he said calmly. “It’s not every day the dead walk into your life again, you know.”

“The dead?” Lena flinched.

“You’ve been missing without a trace for three years. What else was anyone supposed to think?” he reminded her.

Lena sighed. The look on Jim’s face had included shock, but that wasn’t all it had been. He had been angry, and she had a sneaking suspicion it had been at her.

It was all too easy to come up with a reason why, and that had been her disappearance in the first place. He was mad at her for leaving. She couldn’t find a way to blame him for it.

That didn’t mean it didn’t hurt, though, because it did. It hurt like hell to see that he couldn’t even look at her, and when he had left the room it had only left her with a mix of confusion and hurt that wasn’t going away despite all her attempts to rationalize his actions.

Lena sighed. “Thanks,” she muttered as she got up.

“And where exactly do you think you’re going?” M’Benga asked.

“Away from here,” she replied. “Anywhere where I can get a few moments to myself to think.”

M’Benga sighed. “If you’re really so insistent on leaving, there’s no one in my office right now. That’ll be easier for you than trying to find an unoccupied space somewhere else.”

“Thank you,” Lena replied, much more sincerely than she had before.

Locking herself into the office she had occupied once three years beforehand, Lena buried her face in her hands and sighed. She was back, but there was such a long way to go and everything was so far from where she’d hoped it would be.

Life had moved on without her. Sure, she’d expected that to some extent, but it was one thing to know Jim would’ve had to pick a CMO eventually and another to see it for herself. It was one thing to know life was moving on and another to come back and realize there was no place left for her to fit into. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

Even more disconcerting was that she was pretty sure Jim hated her. He hated her for disappearing like she had... or did he hate her for coming back into the perfect life he had recreated?

Lena sighed again. Maybe she shouldn’t have left Ellada. She’d been happy as Hellene. Now that she was back, life had only gotten more difficult.

~*~

Jim flopped onto the bed in his quarters, burying his face in his pillow. Things had just gotten very complicated very quickly.

In a perfect world, none of this would have happened. Lena would never have disappeared, she would’ve been his CMO, and they would’ve fallen in love over crazy space adventures.

Of course, the world was far from perfect, and he knew this. So in a slightly less perfect world, she would have come back and they would’ve fallen into each other’s arms immediately. Now they would be reconnecting and catching up on what had happened instead of being in separate rooms.

Jim should’ve known that anything involving him wouldn’t have gone right. He’d been dreaming of seeing her again ever since she’d disappeared. Now that he had the chance he couldn’t help but dwell on the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. The hypospray vials that had surrounded her bed had been pretty damning evidence of a life gone astray, and there hadn’t been any sign of a struggle. She had just up and left.

She’d left him, and he hated her for it.

Well, as much as it was possible for him to hate her, anyway. Which wasn’t much at all, since he was still so in love with her.

He sighed. He was getting absolutely nowhere. He didn’t even know where she was now, and he didn’t know where he stood with her or where she stood with him or anything that mattered.

He hadn’t wanted to talk to her about her disappearance so soon after getting her back for a reason. It was only going to upset both of them, and it was going to be painful. However, unless he was mistaken they were already hurt and upset. He knew he was.

Getting up, Jim straightened his shirt and left the room, headed for Sickbay. He was reasonably certain that was where she’d be, since he doubted M’Benga was ready to let her entirely out of his sight.

~*~

Three Years Ago

Having found herself with orders to go home and rest when there were finally more people than work that needed done, Lena sat on her bed and realized that her room looked like a disaster had struck.

Clothes were strewn about the floor, shirts flung carelessly over the desk and chair while pants lay in wait to trip her near the foot of the bed. Hypospray vials, the mark of the depths she had to go to to get any kind of rest, glimmered from within the piles of clothes.

It was like everything had finally sharpened from the haze she’d been living in. What had she come to? When was the last time she had checked her messages, much less done anything outside of lie in her room and go to work?

Picking up her PADD, she glanced through her unread messages and sighed. Nothing of any great importance. She wondered why she’d suddenly felt the urge to check them.

It had been a foolish impulse, nothing more.


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November 2011

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